Like having your cake and eating it? McIntosh’s new MC451 dual mono power amplifiers could be the next powerhouse for you, combining both valve and solid-state amplification in one (beefy) unit.
The 150-watt vacuum tube amplifier is for driving midrange drivers and tweeters, while the 300-watt solid-state section takes care of woofers. This ‘McIntosh Hybrid Drive’ technology is somewhat adjustable, too, as users can tweak the crossover point at which the MC451 sends all frequencies above it to the solid-state amplifier and all frequencies below it to the vacuum tube amplifier.
This, the US firm states, oers flexibility that can be taken advantage of to match music genres to their preferred amp technology. For example, rock music could be enhanced by introducing a higher proportion of solid-state amplification, while jazz could benefit from more valves.
Those who keenly follow McIntosh, or who simply have a good memory, might be aware that this isn’t McIntosh’s first crack at a Hybrid Drive amplifier. The much larger and pricier MC901 performs the same trick but with a lot more grunt, boasting a 300-watt vacuum tube amp combined with a 600-watt solid-state amp.
It goes without saying that the MC451 has been given the full McIntosh treatment. The black glass front plate is set with two blue-lit watt meters (one for each amp section) and three green-lit windows that showcase the valve tubes.
The company's proprietary Power Guard signal overload technology is also onboard, preventing the amp from overdriving the speakers, as is its short-circuit protection.
The McIntosh MC451 mono power amps will cost $29,995 each when they go on sale early this year.